What Is Computer Overclocking & How Does it Work?

(& our ultimate overclocking beginner guide)

If you're a hardware beginner you may be wondering what is overclocking, how does it work, and is it worth it? Basically, computer overclocking is the process of forcing a computer component such as the CPU to run at higher speeds than the standard speed set by the manufacturer. Overclocking has pros and cons, with the main upside being a nice little boost in performance for free and the main risk being doing something wrong and damaging your hardware.

This basic overclocking tutorial will teach you the basics of overclocking your gaming PC for the best performanc and to save money.

Now, in the past overclocking has been labeled as dangerous and too risky. If you weren't careful you could quite easily damage your components, and potentially this could negatively affect your wallet because you would have to replace any damaged parts.

But these days computer overclocking has become almost "idiot proof", meaning that it's very hard to damage your parts as long as you have a rough knowledge of what you're doing.

The great thing about overclocking your PC is that you can quite easily boost your total performance, therefore saving you money. As an example, if you were to choose good parts for overclocking, you could buy a custom gaming desktop for $600 and overclock it so it runs like a $900 system. All this whilst minimizing the risk of damaging your parts.

So if you're going to be overclocking your gaming PC, make sure you know this in advance before buying all your parts! Because you will be buying some of your components based on their overclocking potential.

You can overclock your CPU, graphics card, and even your RAM. Some models and makes overclock better or higher than others, and you need to do a little bit of research on what parts to buy if you want to get the most out of your overclocking and save the most amount of money.

Let's take a look at what you should be looking for when choosing a CPU, video card, and RAM for the best computer overclocking.

Overclocking Your CPU

The main computer component that people overclock is the CPU. You can also purchase parts that can help your CPU run faster to even double the performance of the processor chip.

For example, say you bought a Pentium E2180 which is fairly cheap these days (under $100). You could overclock the chip to over 3.6ghz with an aftermarket cooler. That's a huge jump in clock speed, and you can out-match some very high end CPUs that cost a LOT more than what you paid.

See how powerful computer overclocking can be? You can save literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and it's not that hard to do at all.

Not all CPUs are created equal when it comes to overclocking potential. Some overclock better than others, and allow you to overclock to higher clock speeds. But simply put, the plan of attack is to buy an average CPU at a good price and overclock it to a higher speed, therefore getting the most bang for your buck.

Overclocking Your GPU and RAM

If you're looking to overclock your video card too, then you also need to choose one that will overclock well. It's very hard to damage a video card by overclocking, unless you do a physical modification on them such as a "volt mod".

You can also overclock your RAM, which quite a lot of people didn't even know was possible. It's more complicated than overclocking your video card, but is fairly safe as long as you don't run the RAM at a voltage that is too high. Doing this will slowly damage your RAM. Choose cheap RAM that has good overclockability and you're set for a decent performance boost if you do it right.

This was just an introduction to computer overclocking, and if you want to get into overclocking I would recommend reading a lot more before starting.

The Ultimate Overclocking Beginner's Guide

Interested in learning the full fundamentals of computer overclocking with a complete tutorial on CPU, GPU, RAM and Monitor overclocking for beginners? We wrote an eBook on exactly all of that which you can learn more about and download here.


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Tutorials, forums and blog articles on how to build a computer can only cover so much and are usually either incomplete, out of date, written/recorded by an expert who forgot what it's like to be a beginner (therefore confusing you further), and/or they rush or skip over important fundamentals or guidelines.

This year we spent many months on a singular mission to create the ultimate beginner-friendly, logically-ordered, easy-to-follow, image-filled and fully-up-to-date digital guide on every step of building your very first custom gaming rig from scratch, that doesn't rush things and that doesn't cut corners either. Download The Gaming Build Blueprint today and start your journey to cleverly-planning and safely-building your dream new machine, minus the headaches and confusion.

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